Following threats to staff, CamBay homeless shelter occupants must prepare own food

“The threats were being made about the type of food being served, the hours the food was being served and about not wanting to eat leftovers”

The Municipality of Cambridge Bay says that occupants of the homeless shelter must now prepare their own food, following threats and abuse of staff. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

(Updated, 3:50 p.m.)

“Please do not abuse our staff and their families”—that was the short and direct statement issued yesterday by the Municipality of Cambridge Bay on its zero tolerance for violence policy.

“We work to offer the best we can. Our staff should never be subject to any verbal abuse or threats and we will not tolerate it,” the municipal statement said on social media on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

This photo shows the inside of the men’s shelter in Cambridge Bay. (File photo)

Residents of the men’s homeless shelter and their friends and families have been threatening and abusing workers and their families, the municipality said.

Police will be contacted if the threats and abuse continue.

But the municipality said that as a result of the abuse, residents of the shelter must now prepare their own meals.

“The threats were being made about the type of food being served, the hours the food was being served and about not wanting to eat leftovers,” the statement said.

A typical evening meal, according to information supplied to Nunatsiaq News, would be spaghetti or soup and sandwiches. Breakfast was self-service, with the basic ingredients for sandwiches provided.

“As this situation escalates, we will no longer be providing any meals. All clients in the shelter are working and will be required to prepare their own meals, ” the statement said.

The average length of stay at the shelter, which opened in 2016, is nine months.

The shelter is housed in one of Cambridge Bay’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 1960s.

Homeless men, as well as those escaping violence at home, can stay at the shelter, which is operated by Cambridge Bay’s Department of Healthy Living.

The shelter was expanded last year from eight beds to 16.

Hunger and overall food insecurity are severe problems in this community of about 1,800 where many show signs of poor nutrition, say medical staff in Cambridge Bay.

Cambridge Bay also operates a food bank at its wellness centre. There, single people can get a box of supplies that includes flour, lard, tea bags, macaroni, canned tomatoes, ground beef and soup mix.

The Department of Healthy Living is also opening a thrift store, which will help support the food bank.

Share This Story

(18) Comments:

  1. Posted by Steve L on

    I volunteer for an NGO that steps ups when there are major evacuations. We work with little to feed as many the best we can, including leftovers. (Which is a favorite at home)

    I am a loss of what to say to this situation.

  2. Posted by David on

    I love leftovers!!!!!

  3. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Wow. How lucky can you get to not only get a place to sleep in this era of rampant homelessness and they feed you too on top of it even though you have a job. And you are complaining about the food? Guess you have no one to blame now except yourselves if you are eating crap-it will be your own crap. That marks a new high in selfishness and false entitlement. Must have been a bunch of useless Momma’s boys who finally got their useless butts kicked out of the house. Welcome to the real world.

  4. Posted by A moment of brevity in October on

    Please don’t go bashing men at the shelter, majority of them are estranged from their families members from other communities. They are sent here because they are either disowned by their own families or do not have adequate mental health services available in their communities. Never to treat a person poorly because of their disability or mental health issue. Heed the words from our elders past and present.

    • Posted by Treat who bad on

      Kind of oxymoron. Saying dont treat the men poorly. I bet the elders would be disappointed with families that are treating their men poorly. Or are the men treating their families poorly. This makes no sense to me, if anyone is trying to justify something. Toronto has 2.8 million people, and there are about 5 thousand homeless on the street, whats going on here in the north? What percentage are homeless. This is small communities here, this homelessness is mainly to bad decisions and abuse. Yes there are some disability among the homelessness, but come on, im not buying the crap that these working men cant do more for themselves. Hey , look after your family, that should inspired you to want to life a full life. If you work! Then, as a man ! look after yourself.

  5. Posted by Nice Place on

    Maybe the building is old, but the interior is considerably nicer than my staff unit that I pay a lot for.

  6. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    Two sides to the story peoples. Can’t point fingers till ALL the facts are known.

  7. Posted by Israel MacArthur on

    So, biting the hand that feeds you…nice. Not the way to go guys.

  8. Posted by Cambaymiut on

    The interior of the building was entirely renovated only a few years ago, so I don’t see what the comment about it being “one of the oldest buildings” has to do with anything in the story. If the story was about the interior being decrepit or something, I could understand, but it isn’t–and it isn’t, it’s very nice inside–then I could see the reason.

  9. Posted by Harol on

    Many homeless have no opportunity to even get into a shelter. If your life has deteriorated to this level. Be thankful for what is being offered. Use the chance to change your life for the better. Those who abuse those that are trying to help should be removed from the home if theis behaviour continues.

  10. Posted by Shelter worker on

    The vast majority of the clients at the men’s shelter are wonderful men and are appreciative of the help given. Unfortunately this decision was made due to the actions of a few clients and members of the community. Staff have been threatened, as have the family members of some staff. This has been going on for almost 3 years. We are at the point where some staff have decided to quit. The mandate of the shelter is to provide safe warm bed, the meals were an added bonus. Going forward the shelter will still keep some food at the shelter for emergency clients and the regular clients will be responsible for providing their own food

    • Posted by Sacrificial Scapegoat on

      The community doesn’t deserve good things. That’s just how it is. Close it down and to hell with these jerks.

  11. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Don’t like the food, the service or the hours? That’s fine then simply buy and prepare your own food. If you can’t do that then be grateful for what is provided and accept it with a humble heart.

  12. Posted by Moe Nodum on

    I also love leftovers @myplace.
    However if this like the old hospital style, I would not like it.
    Some of those guys can’t even cook, so they will be seeking favours.
    Every eater should know baic cooking and clean up. Even older people are not in the good habit of cleaning the kitchen.

    • Posted by INUK on

      I have teens , they don t clean after them selfs either

  13. Posted by How we measure wellness on

    There are so many shelters in The north. If its needed, then its needed. So be it. We must never stop wondering about the real reason of why we need shelters thou. We must keep that question alive. We have mens groups too, lots of them. Why thou? Sure its needed, as a bandage solution. Its not a perfect or permanent solution. Lets ask why. Its not a sign of good well being and healthy outcomes of grown men to need shelters and mens group. Healthy men are living life with father, husbands, uncles, brothers and grandfathers, hunters and role models. Why do we have a need for this in the north? Im glad thats it available to the needy! But Im not proud to see that need in the first place. Its the same for these family homes that went up in our communities. We must used it to see ourselves in our quality of life. Be thankful that its there, but never lose site of why its there. Really, its not a sign of wellbeing, its a sign of our illness, and putting a bandage to it. Our group homes are not a nice image with the prison like windows either. My biggest concern is that these groups and shelters take a life of their own, to be the norm, with forgetfulness to why we are having this struggle.

  14. Posted by Terry Thibeault on

    Out of the ashes comes new growth.
    It might be a golden opportunity to learn how to make a meal for yourself with what is in the fridge.

    That’s what I am having for dinner tonight.

    It usually turns out yummy and little goes to waste.

    Better to learn how to fend for yourself with what you have and never rely on anyone other than yourself and a few kindered spirits.

    That is something that needs to be instilled in everyone at whatever age it becomes necessary.

    Bon appetit.

  15. Posted by john smith on

    Lazy ingrates, kick them out and don’t let them back. These people need to appreciate what is done for them not whine like brats and worse make threats. I bet it is cold outside those walls and no food, maybe leftovers would look good then.

Comments are closed.